Jazz Family

Heath Brothers

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Jazz Family Review

by Richard S. Ginell

With Percy Heath technically in retirement on Long Island, Jimmy Heath freshly retired from Queens College, and Tootie Heath ready for action, the Heath Brothers had the time to quickly follow their first reunion album with another first-rate collection of bop-based small-combo jazz. On "East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)" and "Easy Living," a brass quartet is added, with Jimmy's elegant writing casting a thoughtful veil of subdued color over the combo. Guitarist Tony Purrone, a mainstay of the first Heath band, returns in fine form; Jeb Patton, a student of Jimmy's at Queens College, is the capable pianist; and three trumpet soloists (veteran Joe Wilder, Earl Gardner, and Tom Williams) take turns in that chair, although the liners offer incomplete information about who appears on which track. Percy again comes to the foreground repeatedly (in contrast with his supporting role in the MJQ); "Move to the Groove" is another of Percy's sly blues grooves, and he solos on "jazz cello" on "I'm Lost." Four of the nine tunes are by Jimmy, the most distinctive being the soulful "13th House" and "Three at Last"; the latter has just the three brothers communing in lighthearted, New Orleans-accented fashion. Another welcome release from these lively survivors of the jazz wars.

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